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For specs and early info, check this article by Pocketables.…
For hate and bile, read on.

I guess you can say I am just a bit cynical.

Over time things have developed in way that had taught me that it’s better to have low expectations about things I can not control. I mean REALLY LOW expectations.

So it is not without a bit of melancholy that I can honestly say that the New NS from Willcom meets or perhaps even exceeds my expectations. In the same way perhaps that I am always pleased when the pizza delivery boy does not gouge out my eyes with a plastic spork.

WILLCOM NS Official Page

The NS or (Network Stationary) device from Willcom is an answer to a question you never had. You’re Mom once had the question, but it’s because she didn’t really understand what you were saying. It’s old technology with a ridiculously bad interface. While it is cheap, it is such a poorly developed product that only a complete fool would consider shelling out good money for one. So I totally expect to see them proudly displayed by salarymen on subways all over Tokyo next month. I got a chance to play around with one last week and here are my thoughts.

I suppose I can break down the problems with the NS in a few categories.

Old, out of date hardware.
I guess you can’t blame only the hardware here, a lot of this has to do with limitations of the OS choice. The specs are just way too underpowered in this age of processor intensive devices such as the iPhone, Android and Palm Pre. 325 MB of onboard memory? Come on! An Ipod shuffle get 8 GB onto a board so small the Prime Minister of Japan once confused it for his moral compass, but Windows Mobile and CE devices still treat memory like it actually cost money to install. And it can never be a good sign when main processor specs are conspicuously absent from the specifications page.

Old out of date software.
Thank you Willcom for continuing to justify my belief that Windows CE and Mobile are the only only serious virus ever encountered in the mobile industry. I mean really, does it still look like 1989 out there? Not only are the Jigglets (?) slow and unresponsive, the entire device runs slower than I did in my 2nd grade sports day relay race. In spite of a larger 4.1 inch screen, a lot of apps can’t even maximize to use the full screen real estate, putting black bars around even the core applications. Even the notepad has a noticeable lag. Remember the days of draw a line, wait for it to render, draw another, wait again, repeat? No, neither do I.

Unforgivably bad interface.
No, seriously. It sucks. Even the IME is some ridiculous cut and paste nightmare. When I asked the Willcom rep what the deal was he just shrugged and said, “No, you can’t input text like you do on a PC. It’s a mobile device and you can’t attach a keyboard so no one will want to type in text anyway. This device was mainly just made to do simple web browsing.” Which lead me to,

Willcom reps are morons.

Truly, both Toshiba and Willcom should be embarrassed by this device. That said, I doubt they are, and the reason for that it that Willcom will likely make money off the NS. Why? Because Willcom has a pretty good business model, and because consumers are kind of stupid. Willcom is popular in some markets because they offer the cheapest unlimited data wireless plans in Japan. They can do this because the use old PHS technlogy that Docomo chucked years ago over more popular and functional 3G WCDMA technology. So for half what other carriers charge for unlimited data, Willcom can offer you unlimited data for around half of what other carries like Softbank and Docomo charge. Also, since they basically filed the case with parts left over in the trash bin (No GIR! I do not want to feed the moose pancakes!), so even subsidized, Willcom probably make a few yen of each device sale.

Yes, this is the iPhone replacement your mom bought you for Christmas (It does everything you said the iPhone does and look!, its half the price!). So in the end, salarymen and otaku of lesser means should flock to the NS. Me? I’m keeping my iPhone.

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